Monday, October 6, 2014

Back-to-School Feast

One of my favorite family traditions is our back-to-school feast and theme. Every year, usually the night before school starts, we have a little "feast" and introduce a new theme for our family.  Since it is their feast my kids get to decide the menu and I set the table nicely and display our new theme.  This year they chose monkey bread pizza, a fruit tray, and some apple cider from the nearby orchard.

My oldest could hardly wait to discover the new theme!  He kept trying to sneak a peak at what I was working on.  Our theme this year is "Suit up!"   We plan on talking about knights and armor--putting on the armor of God and also acting like a knight (being a good friend, acting like a gentleman, etc).

This year I made little place mats for each boy to remind them of our theme.

And I also made some keychains out of shrinky dinks.  My boys put the keychains on their backpack as a daily reminder of how to act.  

This little tradition of ours gets everyone excited for school and gives us a good focus for the school year.  I'd love for you to share your back-to-school traditions!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Craft Stick Catapult

These craft stick catapults are fun and simple to put together and are a great boredom buster for when you're stuck indoors.

My boys had so much fun playing with their little catapults!

They had a great time seeing how high and how far they could shoot their pom-poms.

Want to have a blast with your own catapults?  Follow the instructions below to make your own!

Gather your supplies: large craft sticks, rubber bands, bottle caps, pom-pom balls (for launching)

Stack seven craft sticks together and bind them at each end using a rubber band.

In the center of your bound sticks place a stick at the top and underneath, perpendicular to the others.  Bind together with rubber bands as shown below.

Bind the tip closed with another rubber band.

Glue the bottle cap 1/2 inch from the end of the stick.  You will need room for your finger to pull back the stick and launch the pom-pom balls.

Have fun with your new catapult!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Date Night (in a can)

Last year for for Christmas I gave my sister and her husband six date nights.  With money being tight while my brother-in-law is doing his dental surgery residency I thought it would be an easy, fun, and inexpensive way for them to spend time together at home after their kids went to bed.  I packaged each date in a large #10 food storage can that I wrapped with a "date night" label.

Each date contained an activity and a snack.  Initially I thought I would fill the cans with healthy snacks and treats since I knew my sister would appreciate that but then thought I better add some of my brother-in-laws favorite snacks too.  I bought the movies on blue-ray and I was glad I spent the extra money on them because I later learned that a regular DVD case wouldn't fit in the cans.  The blue-rays slightly smaller size were perfect.

This is what each can contained:

Date #1: Movie (comedy) and a sweet and salty snack.

Date #2: Movie (chick flick) and a sweet and salty snack.

Date #3 Movie (Action) and a sweet and salty snack.

Date #4: Game and snacks

Date #5: Game and snack

Date #6: Sharing memories and eating smores.

For this date I suggested that they could tell each other stories going to scout or girls camp growing up while they ate their smores.  I also included a list of fun questions they could ask each other that I found here.  I cut the papers down to a size that would fit in the can and made a cute little folder for them to go inside.

After I filled each can I added an expiration label to each lid depending on when the food in the can expired so they would know when to use each can by.  I placed all six cans into a box and they were ready to wrap and ship.

These make a fun homade gift for Christmas and could even be used for a unique wedding gift.

Want to make your own date night gift?  Feel free to use my label below.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Lace Birthday Crown

Last year my daughter woke up on the day of her seventh birthday party and asked me where her birthday crown was.

Birthday crown?  Ooops.

I didn't know she was expecting a crown for her birthday.  We've never had one before and she never mentioned it.  Funny the ideas kids get in their heads.  She took matters into her own hands though and created a lovely purple crown for herself out of construction paper.

For her birthday this year I made sure not to forget the crown.  I decided I wanted to make a crown that was white and with a little searching on Pinterest I came across this post for lace crowns which I thought was perfect!

This lace crown turned out lovely.

I bought my lace at JoAnns along with some Aleene's Fabric Stiffener.  I saturated the lace in the fabric stiffener, wrung out the excess, and laid my lace flat to dry on some wax paper overnight.

I was surprised to find how stiff my lace was the next day.  This stuff really works!  I wrapped my lace into a circle, overlapping at the ends, and glued it closed with some tacky glue.

The birthday girl loved her crown!

She wore it all day.  (And especially while enjoying her very own dish of apple crisp--the birthday girls request.)

I think we'll save this sweet little crown to enjoy on next year's birthday too.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Big Floor Pillows--Tutorial

Be sure to stop by Cut Out and Keep this week.  They're featuring my book Quiet Book Patterns as the book of the week!  You'll find my author interview, a free sample project (along with template), and you can also enter to win a copy of my book.  Find it all here.  -Amy
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I needed a little something more to add to our reading nook to make it extra cozy.  I decided that some big floor pillows would do just the trick.  I had originally made some giant floor pillows (which I spied on Pinterest) for the boys to lay down on while watching movies but I needed something a little smaller.

I had a lot of fun picking out some happy-looking fabrics for this little corner of our home.  I first cut out some 20x20 squares and 4 strips that measured 5x20.

I then took one of my large squares and laid the strips along the edges, right sides together, pinning them in place.

Since the corners overlap when lying flat you'll have to lift them up and pin them together.

I sewed three of the corners together first.  You'll want to keep one open for later.

Then I sewed the contrasting edges together.

I found the trickiest part to be taking this piece and pinning the top square to the edges of the strips. 

Once that is sewn then turn it right side out and use that one corner that wasn't sewn shut to stuff the pillow with batting.  Enlist some help--your kids will think it's fun!  Plus, it takes lots and lots of batting!

When it's stuffed to the firmness that you like you can hand stitch the last corner shut and--viola!  You have a great floor pillow!

These floor pillows were the perfect addition to make our reading nook a cozy place to cuddle up and read.